Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Err..., I agree with Professor Tina Beattie, it might be the first time ever:
There are three great myths of modern liberalism being exploded around us: laissez faire economics will ensure justice, the end of religion will ensure freedom, and the pursuit of science and reason will ensure progress. Wrong on all counts. Laissez faire economics has not brought justice but global economic meltdown and trauma and suffering for millions of people, probably for generations to come. The end of religion has not brought freedom but new forms of bondage. Substitute the word ‘God’ every time you hear ‘the markets’ and you’ll understand a fair bit about why Marx condemned capitalism as well as religion. And the pursuit of science and reason has nothing to do with progress because human beings are neither progressive nor consistently rational, and how much we know has very little to do with how we behave. Every human life is a complex, mysterious, interwoven and unpredictable phenomenon which bears the marks of its history, culture and experiences in ways that simply do not conform to the myth of progress.
We are by nature relational, interdependent and impressionable, and we learn by mimicry and example. Put us in a jungle to fend for ourselves under a creed of ‘each to his own’ and watch us prey on one another and everything else, when that jungle is governed by some hydra-headed ideological monster produced by the economics of Ayn Rand and the anthropology of Friedrich Nietzsche. Individualism is what we get when human individuals are cut off from one another by the combative dynamics of free market economics and unbridled competitiveness, fuelled by a liberal dogma that regards any attempt to hold one another accountable for our ethics and behaviour as an invasion of the right to privacy.
The relationship between the individual and the wider social context has been ruptured by a neo-liberal ideology which is now reaching its nadir. If there is no such thing as society, then there is no reason why one shouldn’t steal, cheat, loot, lie and bully one’s way to the top of the pile. Our shared cultural ethos becomes not ‘what should I do?’ but ‘how much can I get away with?’ Think of the MPs’ expenses scandal. Think of Tony Blair accumulating vast personal wealth on the back of his political career, despite his catastrophic legacy. Think of Enron, the Lehman Brothers, the banking crisis. Think of Rupert and James Murdoch brazening it out in front of their parliamentary interrogators. And then think of rioting adolescents rampaging through Britain’s streets and spot the difference if you can. I’ll tell you the difference: it’s the difference between power and despair, inclusion and exclusion, complacency and rage. Look at the faces, and you’ll see it’s also the difference between black and white, poverty and wealth. But let's be clear: those youths on the streets have learned by example, and they are expressing the values by which our society now operates at every level of the economic spectrum.
It is easy to define the problem and even to identify its causes. Tina does, it is neo-liberalism, I agree. However I suspect she sees neo-liberalism in terms of the economy and market forces, basically exalting the pragmatic and individualistic solution.
I doubt whether she would agree with me in suggesting neo-liberalism is equally damaging in personal morality and thelogy. Indeed I had always thought of her as a neo-liberal theologian, constantly pushing a pragmatic and individualistic theology over the Magisterial teaching of the Church.
I think there is a parallel to the mindless, selfishness of the looters of the cities of London and Birmingham and Manchester to the smug, self-seeking individualism of certain "theologians" that threaten the City of God.


shane said...

There is an interesting post on riots here.

Martin said...

That video link on her post of a wounded boy being robbed has made me feel sick.
It says it all!

I believe the media coverage is culpable in spreading anti-social behaviour but, in this case, the video is valuable because it catches the depths humanity can stoop to!

I hope Tina Beattie's association with broadcasting will give her the opportunity to speak out on this.
Thank you for drawing it to our attention.

Little Voice said...

Whenever societies reject traditional morality, violence usually follows.

Peter said...

"Indeed I had always thought of her as a neo-liberal theologian, constantly pushing a pragmatic and individualistic theology over the Magisterial teaching of the Church."

Me too, but this post is outstanding.
She has a great devotion to Our Lady according to Telegraph comments and the compassion she feels is very obvious here.

Evagrius Ponticus said...

Careful, Fr. - you're in danger of being accused of being a godless, communist, nu-Church, Novus-Ordo, gay, invalidly-ordained, Unigenitus-denying modernist by American objectivist-"Catholicism" en masse for this.

Which is to say: in this you (and Dr. Beattie) are entirely correct. In your ase, this is continuing as usual. In Dr. Beattie's case... even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Shane, what is interesting about it?

nickbris said...

Everybody has been having their say.

I would like to hear from that Godless Quartette of warmongers,Hague,Clinton,Sarkozy & Berlusconi,they can cure other peoples problems but when it comes close to home they are clueless.

Charles Darwin said...

Looting is one thing, but responses to the attitudes picked up and reported in the media, and the seemingly widespread currency of them need to go deeper than the elastoplast measures needed for a quick fix now being debated by politicians.

Individuals are certainly seeming to increasingly behave as though "there is no such thing as society".

Might the root be the lust for economic growth, growth in personal expectations and governmental expectations - and promises?
How many will tolerate a government offering to restrict growth to that which is sustainable, let alone curtail growth.
It seems clear that unrestricted economic growth, resulting in vastly increased exploitation of limited resources, must be unsustainable within a quickly shortening timescale.
What then?

We may not realize this when jetting off to four or five overseas holidays a year amongst all our other excesses, but our successors on this planet will suffer excruciating hardship and will curse us for our profligacy.

I doubt if any of us now alive will live to see any real political realization that laissez faire economics must be restrained.

Sustainability does not just mean conserving resources - it means ensuring the continuance of a balanced, civilized human existence in equlibrium with itself and the planet. We must take the long view on sustainable economics.

This is not a class issue. Is there any possibility that we could all accept that we must all contribute to reducing our profligacy and consent to governments imposing controls on our behalf?

Mercury said...

Father, I understand what the woman is saying, but perhaps I am just a naive American: It seems she is attacking the very idea of a free market itself,and I would like to politely ask what she proposes as an alternative. It seems that most time governments have sought to deny that a free market actually exists, the result is even more misery and stagnation.

It would seem that economic freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech, etc. are natural God-given freedoms. The problem with these though is that in the absence of moral guidance, people CAN and DO abuse these freedoms and use them to oppress their neighbors and to feed their own greed. That said, it doesn't mean those freedoms themselves are evil, just that freedom cannot be exercised without responsibility.

I can see the need for having a government there to moderate such things, but WHY ON EARTH does anyone assume that the government will act in people's best interest, that they are not beset by the same demons of greed, power, and irresponsibility that plague private citizens? This is an especially important question when dealing with the amoral, irreligious and increasingly anti-Christian governments of the West, such as yours and mine.

Another problem is that markets and real prices EXIST, whether we want them to or not. This is a brutal fact, and I think the job of government and responsible employers is to make sure that the safety net is wide enough that humans do not get treated like machinery, but it's impossible to indefinitely force wages and prices at a certain level. For example, if a certain job is obsolete, I think the government has responsibility to subsidize the folks who work that job, and to help them be retrained to enter a new line of work. But to maintain that state indefinitely is madness. Otherwise we'd have lots of blacksmiths and fullers around, fully subsidized by the government.

Also, why do so many people assume that wealth is necessarily a zero-sum game? That there is only X amount of wealth to go around, and that if one man has something, he must have "taken" it from another? This is sometimes true, especially in systems that have NO controls, but in general it's a false notion driven by Marxist class warfare. Bill Gates has a hell of a lot more money than I do, and I don't feel like "oh if only he didn't have so much, I'd have more". That's total BS.

Mercury said...

Also, why do we assume that if a government "places restrictions for our own benefit", that they will always act wisely, and not be agenda-driven?

The Obama administration says the "rich" are anyone who makes over $250,000, including people who use that money to employ others. Therefore, these people "need" to have more money confiscated? Why? How does that benefit anyone? A big problem in Western lands is also that governments are profligate, irresponsible, and wasteful spenders. Why do we assume that what they are doing will be for our own good, or will even be used for morally licit purposes?

The real answer is a free market, but a conversion of people's hearts. If businesspeople were Christians, they'd regulate themselves, and they'd do their part for the poor. I know several wealthy people who use much of their resources to help people in need, and if the government were in charge of distributing that money, not one cent of it would get to the poor.

Let's also remember that the most successful welfare states tend to be small, ethnically homogeneous countries where there really is a sense of community and solidarity with one's neighbors. This is demonstrably not the case in the UK or the US (or France, or Germany for that matter) and the system is falling apart in places where it was once successful because Europeans don't reproduce.

RJ said...

It was interesting how Tina Beattie focussed on liberal free-market capitalism as the sole explanation for the rioters' behaviour - coming down fully on the side of environmental influences. She didn't mention original sin, an internal cause.

She is not entirely correct about our economic system: it is not laissez-faire capitalism but mitigated or regulated freemarket capitalism with large doses of social intervention (state benefits, national health service, education system, taxation).

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

Dear Father,

I fear that I must strongly disagree with the economic aspects of this analysis. 

The current problems with the world economy are emphatically not the result of laissez-faire market economics, they are the direct result of political interventions in the economy: excessive government spending to support unaffordable public spending; governments taking political (not economic) decisions to support failing banks; political decisions to inject inflation into the economy in order to defer crises until after elections have taken place. 

A fair comparison is between Ireland and Iceland. Iceland let market forces prevail and its banks failed (in truth, they had no choice in the matter), Iceland is now returning to economic health after a period of intense discomfort. Ireland is bound by a political straight-jacket that has forced it to prop up banks that would have failed - Ireland is undergoing economic pain as great as Iceland suffered, but with no sign of an exit. 

The characterisation of bankers as "looters" is, I am afraid to say, grossly inaccurate. I don't deny that their pay is inequitable, but that is a reflection on our society and the perverse incentives that governments have given us to place a premium on the skills possessed by bankers over those possessed by teachers or paramedics. However, bankers do work very hard (believe it or not) and do generate tax receipts, jobs and profits for other businesses (builders, retailers, tailors, decorators, etc): their contribution to our society is not disproportionate to their incomes. 

The gangs of children wreaking chaos on our streets are not acting in imitation of the bankers (many of whom will be working long into the night), but are acting in imitation of a political culture of profligate spending in the name of short-term expediency (the gruesome misallocation of resources in the NHS (shiny offices while clinics decay), the pointless ID card scheme, new, unwanted highspeed rail projects, millennium domes, Olympic villages, rebranding exercises for government and council departments, pointless foreign wars).

The culture of irresponsibility fostered by successive governments and the atomisation of our society, caused by their interventions in communities and families, can be healed in the longer term, but not until we stop pointing the finger of blame at convenient aunt-sallies like bankers and start examining the assumptions that underlie our politicians' interventions in our lives. 

Pablo the Mexican said...

When we allow Caesar to teach our children, we should not be surprised when they behave as Romans.

These things occur when Priests stay in their Priories and do not go amongst their sheep blessing their homes, providing catechisms and pastoral support.

A Priest should walk around his parish sprinkling Holy Water for the purpose it is intended; driving out Satan and his demons wherever it is sprinkled.

(Novus Ordo blessed water does not serve this function).

Satan speaks many truths that we may fall for his tiny lies he mingles into those truths.

It is best to completely ignore heretics.

The riots are the work of Satan.


Left-footer said...

Father Ray Blake, Shane - I have just read Shane's link. I makes at least one interesting point, that if you feel excluded, a gang is a comfortable place to be -

"Gang culture grows out of need not desire, the need to inhabit an alternative society to the one whose values, culture, lexicon and laws are associated with a status quo that has clearly and unequivocally been stamped out of bounds"

My experience as a teacher and human being tells me that this has some truth.

Sadie Vacantist said...

The Raven makes excellent points. The problem is that he offers a critique of "bail-outs" then at the same defends bankers. Ben Benanke and Mervyn King do not work for the government but represent the bankers. They threatened their respective leaders (Bush and Brown) with economic armegeddon unless government monetized bankers' gambling debts. That is what happened in 2008 and is still happening.

Physiocrat said...

Mercury - The "free market" you are adulating is a fix-up and a sham. Neo-libertarianism is founded on Locke's false notion of property rights and their origin. Look them up, here is not the place to explain.

Condemnation of this view is implicit throughout Catholic Social Teaching. And before that was the encyclical Vix Pervenit which we could all study to advantage.

Mercury said...

So now "Novus Ordo holy water" is invalid, eh?

Physiocrat, so whatdo you propose? State ownership and control of the means if production and the goods? Absolue monarchy?

I believe the Church teaches that the problem is with the untrammeled free market, or the idea that the market cab solve all our social ills, or that the purpose of life is found in markets. The Church does not condemn free markets as such, and in fact there are papal teachings and envisioned which reflect that, and even praise the free market if it is properly regulated.

And it's not Lockean social contract theory - it's a fct of nature - why do you think supply and demand exists, or why do markets spring up anywhere that there is human activity, and why does excessive government control always lead to stagnation and misery?

Do you think the church supports the massive anti-Christian nanny state? Or that a man does not have the right to sell the product of his own labor, or that a man does not have the freedom to choose his line of work, etc.?

Or are you one of those guys who wants an absolute monarchy?

Physiocrat said...

Mercury, you can find out what I propose by looking up "Physiocrat". The picture is in fact Francois Quesnay. To explain further would bore those people who know what I propose so I will spare them from the effort of yawning.

The free market can only function when supply can be increased in response to demand. There are some things in the world, the supply of which can not be increased in response to demand. In that situation, the market as at present constituted is anything but free.

The bit of Locke that is objectionable relates to his theory of property ownership, which is nonsensical.

Anonymous said...

Pre-reformation style monarchy is
what is needed, Mercury.

Which goes to the real cause, historically distant as it is - the king decides to show God and the Pope that he can do what he wants, and severs England from the church. Parliament (really the descendants of those whose support the king needed to separate from Rome and pass the relevant Acts of Parliament, bribed with church lands)decides it'll show the king that it can do what it likes, and cuts off his head, etc., etc.

In other words, corruption at the top of society flows downward.

+ Wolsey

santoeusebio said...

Mercury asks what alternative Tina Beattie would propose. She mentions Marx with approval.

A free market needs to be regulated and it is there that has been failure. "A decade of regulatory failure" is how the Parliamentary Ombudsman described the Government regulation of Equitable Life. The Equitable Life scandal ended with the regulators engaging in a criminally fradulent scheme to prop it up for which no-one has been prosecuted although in the USA there are people in prison for precisely the same type of fraud. Barely anyone gets prosecuted in the UK for that crime.

As for the Banks it is really a joke to pretend that bankers are justified in putting their hands into the till in the way they have. The Government is again responsible for this in allowing, as a result of the Financial Services Act 1986, activities that were previously regarded as unlawful and sometimes criminal namely usury and gambling.

Take for instance the scandal of people being sold policy protection insurance in the knowledge that the customers would never be able to claim on the insurance - criminal fraud. It is costing Lloyds Bank alone 3.5 billion in compensation but has anyone in that bank been even disciplined let alone prosecuted for that fraudulent behaviour?

The behaviour of the bankers has been deplorable and at times criminal but above all stupid. Who would ever buy a bank (HBOS) without looking at the books? What fool would ever invest in Greek Bonds (RBS)? And they think they should be entitled to enormous recompense. Working all night as one commentator has said here. For whose benefit? Not ours certainly.

No the example given by Politicians, Bankers and the rich has been appalling and is undoubtedly used as an excuse by the disaffected youth who have rioted.

However there are other much deeper causes. Our disrespect for the young beginning with abortion. The destruction of the family as being oppressive partly done by extreme feminists. The failure of our pastors to preach against abortion, fornication etc. The undermining of the authority of parents and teachers. The facilitation of abortion and perverted sex education by our Bishops with Cormac Murphy O'Connor leading the pack. The coverup of paedophilia. One could go on.

No there has been appalling example from both left and right of the political spectrum. Let us hope we now have a wakeup call.

Nicolas Bellord

Philip said...

The economic part of your analysis is incomprehensible. How can you call a situation whereby banks are bailed out by the taxpayer "laissez-faire"? How can you call a situation where the state has more-or-less complete control of education and healthcare and spends over 50% of national income "laissez-faire"? I suspect a large proprtion of the rioters do not receive any of their income from free economic activity but get it from the state - and the state through the particular design of its welfare systems both encourages this and penalises family formation (especially among the poor) - laissez-faire? A free economy is one that simply enables people to pursue their economic objectives peacefully and purposefully and requires a secure regime of property rights. That includes the property rights of small shop keepers in Croydon; the property rights of taxpayers whose money may be taken to subsidise the holders of bank debt; and the property rights of those in poor countries over which governments generally ride roughshod (and thus are the main cause of destitution). The extent to which people exercise moral restraint in a free economy is a separate issue - though a vitally important one. Monks work within a free economy and they choose to hold their private property in common every bit as much as an entrepreneur works in a free economy. Do you really understand what a free economy really means?

Michael Petek said...

The Raven says: "The characterisation of bankers as "looters" is, I am afraid to say, grossly inaccurate."

I disagree. Professor Jesus Huerta de Soto's book "Money, Bank Credit and Economic Cycles" demonstrates the grave immorality of the activities of banks in creating money out of nothing at the point of lending, and of fractional reserve lending.

His main point is that, when a bank receives a deposit on terms that it must be repaid on demand and kept available for withdrawal at all times, the deposit is, morally, a bailment. Therefore the banker commits misappropriation if he uses it to his own profit.

Unfortunately, English common law from the 19th century treats a bank deposit as a loan to the banker, so that he is a debtor for the amount and can, through the bankruptcy regime, escape liability if the bank fails.

Fortunately, the statutory definition of a "deposit" adopted in the late 20th century might arguably extinguish the common law rule in favour of a meaning in terms of bailment.

If that interpretation is correct, then bankers are criminals.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

I'm afraid that Michael Petek's comment is, at best, wistful thinking: deposits at banks have always been accounted as liabilities of the banks (i.e. loans, which is why a positive balance on a bank statement is a "credit", while an overdraft is a "debit"); the use of one statutory definition or another will not over-rule the common-law treatment of the banking contracts that we each enter into when we make deposits with banks or building societies.

To suggest that the activities of the banks, which are constricted by regulations imposed by the civil authorities, are criminal is misguided.

If the transactions that Michael mentions are, indeed immoral then everyone that has written a cheque or used a credit card is equally guilty of such acts, as we are (albeit temporarily) each of us expanding the money supply by doing so.

Mercury said...

As far as physiocracy and absolute monarchy go, both of which are being proposed here, both presume a society based almost entirely upon agriculture.

I agree that there is something idyllic about the farmer's life, but I would also imagine that those proposing these systems are not themselves farmers. There's a reason people prefer to live in cities and work office jobs.

And just how do you propose driving people from the cities and converting them to agricultural producers, people whose talents and skills are adapted for urban life - do we do what they did in Cambodia? Maybe we can get them to produce their own steel like in China?

And as far as monarchism is concerned, there are societies that have never had a native monarchy to "go back to", and Monarchy is not any more "Catholic" than any other system of government. If anything, it often sets up the king as rival to the Church (as the case of France and Gallicanism can attest). And the only check on the king's capacity for oppression and greed is his own moral character, which makes him much like the reviled bankers and politicians.

Anonymous said...

"To suggest that the activities of the banks, which are constricted by regulations imposed by the civil authorities, are criminal is misguided".


Besides, such comparisons actually (seek to) provide a moral justification to looting, as the banking activity is legal.


Physiocrat said...

The key point about the economics of Physiocracy is its proposals for what was referred to as l'impôt unique, a prerequisite for laissez-faire trade. The underlying theory was developed further by Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

Whether or not l'impôt unique can be achieved without absolute monarchy is an interesting question. The end is what matters here.

The Physiocrats were developing their theories just before the Industrial Revolution, when economies were predominantly agricultural. The underlying principle behind the case for l'impôt unique is even more relevant to industrial and information economies.

The problem with free markets is that the normal laws of supply and demand cannot function in respect of that which is in fixed supply - unless measures are taken to ensure that prices actually fall to market-clearing levels when supply exceeds demand.

Michael Petek said...

Raven, would you do me a favour and read Professor de Soto's book before commenting. Go to this website and put his name in the search engine:

The question of whether a bank deposit repayable on demand is a bailment or a loan was decided in England in a series of cases culminating in the decision of the House of Lords in Foley v Hill

I think you'll find that the principle of Parliamentary supremacy entails that a common law is extinguished on collision with a statute.

When most people deposit money at a bank in a current account, they do not intend there and then to part with ownership of the money. That intent is imputed by operation of the common law and would seem to effect a violation of property right.

Mercury said...

Physiocrat - can you elaborate on those last points? Don worry about boring people. I'm interested in what you mean.

More importantly, how does one propose imposing absolute monarchy on cultures where it has never existed? (Northern Italy, the US, etc.) or hasn't for a very, very long time?

Physiocrat said...

Rents and land prices never fall to market clearing levels. You only need to walk down any high street to see this. There is always somebody who would take these premises and start some kind of business if the price was right.

It creates and absolute blockage to the functioning of the "free market".

Some property, especially the most valuable, has been in the same ownership for centuries. This indicates that the market is not functioning in accordance with the theory.

Advocates of the free market brush this phenomenon aside.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...


A statute only over-rules common law when it is specifically legislating on the same ground: a regulatory definition of a deposit will not change its criminal law definition; the definition also needs to be read in the context of the wider regulatory legislation dealing with banking.

The thrust of de Soto's book is against state regulation, central banking and fiat currency, not against the essential practice of deposit takers in placing their deposits into the markets. You should also remember that it is a polemical piece making an economic case, not an exposition of the current law on banking, nor its morality!

Physiocrat said...

Mundabor - it is a fundamental duty of government to administer justice. It can do this only if law is congruent with morality.

If it is not, then there will be trouble. The encyclical Vix Pervenit is relevent in the context of banking. Subequent encyclicals are relevant in relation to the general economy. We all still need to work out the implications of Caritas in Veritate.

Michael Petek said...

Raven, it's not a regulatory definition, it's a definition in the text of an Act of Parliament. And the Banking Acts (no longer in force) did legislate in the same subject matter: that of banking. If it is held that they extinguished the common law rule by conflicting with it, then that rule does not revive.

Professor de Soto's book combines legal with economic analysis, and in what he says about fractional reserve banking I entirely agree. I don't agree with his proposal to establish a Gold Standard, or a standard in any other commodity. In his discussion of fiat money he makes no distinction between money created by the State and paid into circulation to be received in payment of taxes, and money created by banks and lent into circulation.

Gigi said...

I was staying with a friend n Hampshire when another friend in London texted to say she could not leave her flat in to buy milk. I flicked to the news and sure enough, there was Hackney Central Station, surrounded by police and rioters. My friend lives behind the station: thank God she's safe. The picture changed to Croydon, my old retail therapy ground, in flames, with accompanying reports from Lewisham, where I grew up. I found myself crying for the desolation of places that are familiar to me and for kids I do not know with their faces obscured.
The following day, the news reports focused on the poor dazed lad who was tricked and robbed by his "helpers". Watching it made me feel physically sick.
Tina Beattie's article makes for interesting reading, but I am inclined to agree with others on here that these children and young people are not heavily aware of the pros and cons of free markets. They are reacting to a presented barrage of closures, fallings, breakdowns, recessions: the vocabluary of doom is there every night on the plasma TV they have been told to expect to have. Children do not understand the downsizing of economies but they absorb joylessness and then the manic cheerfulness of the commercials that follow.
I agree totally that gangs are a pretty safe and comfortable place to be when you feel excluded or displaced, even in your hometown. When I lived in London, I would meet friends to shop in Croydon and I was always aware of the colonies of teenagers hanging around the pedestrianised areas. You could almost smell the resentment towards "shoppers" as these kids sat comparing trainers and 'phones. Some were clearly unemployed, most were too young to be in full-time jobs; all of them seemed to have a foothold on the consumer ladder if nothing else, and were now left hanging.
The notions of "home" and "family" have changed drastically since I was a teenager. I was raised in a relatively poor area by self-proclaimed working class parents. I wanted lots of things. I aspired to lots of things. I probably coveted lots of things. But I never just took anything. I was probably too timid and certainly too ashamed, but it was also an anathma to me to hurt or anger my parents in that way. And I knew it was a sin to steal or to attack.
Now I am older and unemployed for the first time in my life. I admit that it is a struggle to pay bills, eat and keep smiling, as it is for so many people in this city. It would still be abhorrent to my neighbours, my friends and to me to go out to the Lanes and just "take". The differences between my friends' children and the opportunist hoodies on CCTV appear to be respect, faith, love. The pre-teens at my busstop haggle about which applications they should have on their iphones because the media pushes active consumerism as a sign of success, even before they reach university or the jobcentre. I may have previously found comfort of some sort in a new pair of stilettos - probably not physical - but I have never found respect or hope there.
I'm certainly not simply blaming parents or families for the recent riots. It's topical to point the finger at markets which are essentially far from being free. It's easy to trawl out the word "society" in these situations; and "community" means nothing to some and smacks of cultural division to others. But I would stake my shoes that not many of the rioters on the Monday news would usually have been at mass the day before.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...


A different aspects of the same activity may be governed by different aspects of the law: a definition for the purposes of criminal law will not automatically read across into the criminal law.

You are also wrong in your statement that the definition of a bank deposit has changed: the current rules are found in the regulations established under FSMA 2000 (SI2001/544), at regulation 5(2).

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

My apologies, my first paragraph should have read:

"A different aspects of the same activity may be governed by different aspects of the law: a definition for the purposes of *civil* law will not automatically read across into the criminal law. "

Michael Petek said...

Raven, the definition of a bank deposit has been the same in the Banking Act 1979 as in the Banking Act 1987, as in the regulations you cited.

Arguably, 'deposit' means, in relation to a sum of money repayable on demand, a bailment. In relation to deposits of any other description within the statutory definition, it need not mean a bailment.

Gigi said...

I was just pondering that I clearly cannot spell "anathema" as thankfully I don't use the word often, when my friend in Hackney texted to say that her boyfriend's wallet had been stolen by another helper while they were involved in the big Tottenham "clear-up". With the greatest respect to Michael and The Raven; and I do defer to both gentlemen's knowledge of economics; I would say that kind of attitude and activity has very little to do with monetarism or banking ethics and much to do with Godlessness.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...


A sum of money, repayable on demand is a debt in anyone's language.


I couldn't agree more.

Michael Petek said...

Not if it's a bailment, Raven.

A sum of money placed with another to be repaid on demand is a bailment unless an intent to transfer ownership manifestly appears.

Physiocrat said...

The bank's assets are what are owed to it by those to whom it has made loans. Customer's deposits are liabilties from the banks' point of view.

The roots of the banking problem are the abuse of credit, the use of land titles as security for said credit, and the charging, and payment of, interest.

The Raven (C. Corax) said...


It is only a bailment if it is being transferred by the depositor to achieve some purpose mutually agreed with the recipient of the deposit. I tree is no mutually agreed purpose we must conclude that the deposit is in the nature of a loan.

The only evidence that We have for the intentions of the parties to a bank deposit are the terms and conditions provided by the bank.

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